This date has provided us with two big international games during the 1970s, with mixed results for Team Canada. Also, another talented class of National Hockey League greats was inducted into the Hall of Fame and a new franchise hired its first general manager.
Soviet Union Strikes First
The infamous Summit Series between the Soviet Union and Canada began on Sept. 2, 1972. The eight-game series featured the top NHL Canadian-born stars versus the best players from the Soviet Union. Heading into the series, many people had not given the Russian team much of a chance, but as they proved in Game 1, their pros were just as good as anybody else in the world.
Over 18,000 fans jammed into the Montreal Forum to see the first game of the series. Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins scored just 30 seconds after the opening faceoff. Toronto Maple Leafs’ winger Paul Henderson doubled the score about six minutes later by beating goaltender Vladislav Tretiak, but it was all downhill for the Canadians after that.
The Soviet team calmed down after the initial surge and began to dictate the game with their elite passing and skating. Evgeny Zimin got his team on the board about five minutes after the Henderson goal. Vladimir Petrov tied the game with a shorthanded goal late in the first period. Valeri Kharlamov beat Montreal Canadiens goaltender Ken Dryden twice in the second period to give the USSR a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes.
Philadelphia Flyers Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke drew Team Canada to within a goal with just under 12 minutes left to play, but that was as close as they would get. The Soviet Union ran away with Game 1, 7-3, after getting three straight goals from Boris Mikhailov, Zimin and Alexander Yakushev.
Canada Cup Kicks Off in Ottawa
Four years later, on Sept. 2, 1976, Canada had a better result in another international tilt. The Canada Cup was a six-team tournament that was played in Ottawa, Toronto Montreal, Winnipeg, Quebec City and Philadelphia. It was sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (IIHF), Hockey Canada and the NHL.
The biggest difference in this tournament from the Summit Series was that players did not have to be exclusively in the NHL to participate. This meant Bobby Hull was included after being left out four years earlier because he left to play in the World Hockey Association (WHA). Bobby Orr, who sat out the Summit Series with a knee injury, is also on Canada’s roster.
Team Canada blew out Finland, 11-2, in the tournament’s opening game, played in front of 9,500 fans at the Ottawa Civic Centre. Rick Martin of the Buffalo Sabres led the way with a hat trick, while Esposito and Hull each added a pair of goals. They also get goals from Reggie Leach, Steve Shutt, Gilbert Perreault and Darryl Sittler. Goaltender Rogie Vachon made 22 saves in the win.
Broda Tops Hall of Fame Class
On Sept. 2, 1967, the Hockey Hall of Fame opened its doors to four more members. Goaltender Turk Broda, who won five Stanley Cups during his 14-season career with the Maple Leafs, headlines the induction class.
New York Rangers defenseman and 1940 Stanley Cup winner, Neil Colville, and forward Harry Oliver, who played for the Bruins and New York Americans, are the other players included with Broda. Longtime referee Red Storey rounds out the class of 1967.
Odds & Ends
Ruben Pastor filed an application for an NHL expansion franchise on Sept. 2, 1965. At the time, Pastor and his two brothers owned Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League (AHL). Eventually, Pastor and Buffalo are awarded a franchise and the Sabres join the league in 1970.
The Vancouver Canucks signed free-agent forward Rick Vaive, on Sept. 2, 1992. Vaive, who was the first 50-goal scorer in Maple Leafs’ franchise history, had spent the previous four seasons with the Sabres. He never plays for the Canucks, spending much of the 1992-93 season in the AHL before retiring.
On Sept. 2, 1999, the Minnesota Wild named Doug Risebrough the first general manager in team history, a year before they make their league debut. Riseborough held onto the job until April of 2009.
The Wild won one division title and made their first three Stanley Cup playoff appearances during his tenure. Some of his most notable draft picks include Marian Gaborik, Mikko Koivu, Brent Burns and Cal Clutterbuck.
Kirk Muller announced his retirement of Sept. 2, 2003. He played in 19 seasons after being drafted by the New Jersey Devils with the second overall pick of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. In total, Muller played in 1,349 games with the Devils, Canadiens, New York Islanders, Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars. He scored 357 goals and 959 points and was a part of Montreal’s 1993 Stanley Cup championship.
The Maple Leafs traded defenseman Bryan McCabe, on Sept. 2, 2008, to the Panthers for fellow blueliner Mike Van Ryn. McCade played 199 games for the Panthers, over the next three seasons, scoring 28 goals and 104 points. Van Ryn, a former first-round pick, played in just 27 games for the Maple Leafs.
Goaltender Antti Niemi signed with the San Jose Sharks on Sept. 2, 2010. This move came just over two months after he helped the Chicago Blackhawks win their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.
Niemi spent the next five seasons with the Sharks. He appeared in 296 games going 163-92-35 with a .917 save percentage (SV%) and 2.40 goals-against average (GAA) with 25 shutouts. He was traded to the Stars in June of 2015 for a seventh-round draft pick.
Happy Birthday to You
A total of 24 current and former NHL players have been born on this date. The first was Red Goupille, born on Sept. 2, 1915, who played for the Canadiens between 1936 and 1943. The most recent player to make his NHL debut was Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Brannstrom, who turns 21 today.
Glen Sather is celebrating his 77th birthday today. He played in 658 career NHL games with the Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Canadiens and Minnesota North Stars. However, he made it into the Hockey Hall of Fame because of his accomplishments after his playing days were over.
Sather won 592 games as a head coach with the Edmonton Oilers, in both the WHA and NHL, and the Rangers. He was behind the bench for all four of the Oilers’ Stanley Cup wins during the 1980s. He also spent many years in front offices of both the Oilers and Rangers, serving roles such as general manager and president.
Other notable birthdays being celebrated today include Mario Tremblay (64), Doug Small (63), Bobby Gould (63), Gerard Gallant (57), Kevin Miller (55), Stephane Matteau (51), Jason Blake (47), Sami Salo (46), Aleksander Barkov (25) and Eetu Lusotarinen (22).
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.